Two French soldiers were killed in an operation to rescue four hostages in the Sahel region of Africa, France said on Friday, adding that the hostages, including a U.S. woman, a South Korean citizen and two Frenchmen, were now safe.
Two French tourists were kidnapped during a safari in Benin last week, and their local guide found dead.
Their liberation was made possible by a military operation led by French forces overnight from Thursday to Friday in northern Burkina Faso,” the Élysée Palace said in a statement.
The Élysée identified the two special forces soldiers who were killed during the mission as Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, both petty officers under the command of special operations.
French authorities feared the worst when the body of a Benin tour guide was found in Pendjari National Park and the two French tourists with him, Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, were kidnapped.
Benin is considered an island of stability in West Africa, a troubled region where many jihadist groups operate, but Pendjari lies on the porous and remote border with Burkina Faso, which has been hard hit by militant violence.